The Best of Belize - Discover Belize - Moon Belize (Moon Handbooks) - Lebawit Lily Girma

Moon Belize (Moon Handbooks) - Lebawit Lily Girma (2015)

Discover Belize

The Best of Belize

A week and a half provides just enough time to see a few of Belize’s major destinations and get a taste for just how much more there is to discover. This trip includes plenty of self-guided activities, as well as some guided tours. One thing is certain: you won’t run out of things to do and see!

Day 1

Arrive at Belize City International Airport. Hop on your connecting Tropic Air domestic puddle-jumper flight and fly to laid-back Caye Caulker; stay camera-ready to capture the gorgeous views. After dropping off your bags at the hotel, schedule a snorkel trip to Caye Caulker Marine Reserve for the next day, then watch sunset at The Split and Lazy Lizard Bar, the island’s social headquarters. Continue on with dinner alfresco at Habaneros—pick the fresh catch of the day and relax on the outdoor veranda. Walk the sandy streets up to I&I Reggae Bar for a drink on the rooftop and some island tunes.


kayaking on Caye Caulker

Day 2

Today you’ll head out on a half-day morning snorkel trip to Caye Caulker’s Shark Ray Alley, before hopping over to San Pedro. Swim and snorkel alongside a dozen or more nurse sharks and stingrays, among other marinelife, and admire coral gardens. Back on the island, grab your things and catch the early afternoon water taxi to bustling San Pedro. Spend the rest of the day walking around San Pedro Town, with plenty of opportunities to shop, eat, swim, bar hop, and be merry. Grab a memorable seafood dinner at Caramba or Creole specialties at Elvi’s Kitchen and end the night with drinks at the beachfront Señor Marlin’s. If you’re a night owl, continue on to Jaguar’s Nightclub.

Day 3

Catch the first water taxi to Belize City. Stash your bags at the water taxi terminal while you explore the Swing Bridge, the Fort George area, and the Museum of Belize for an hour. Transfer to the Cayo District by bus, shuttle, or car. At you travel along the Western Highway, visit the Belize Zoo or stop for a hike at Guanacaste National Park, near Belmopan. Arrive in downtown San Ignacio and settle into your guesthouse or stay in Cahal Pech Village, with stunning views and access to nearby ruins. For more solitude, opt for Black Rock Lodge, one of the area’s remote jungle lodges. Spend the evening strolling the mellow town, then grab food at Mr. Greedy’s or at Guava Limb Café on Burns Avenue.

Flip-Flop Zones

With a coastline along the Caribbean Sea and more than a dozen offshore sandy islands, Belize has enough variety on and off the mainland to satisfy the most avid beachcomber. The most beautiful stretches of beach are along Belize’s east and south coasts and on the Southern Cayes. The following are the best sandy spots.

Half Moon Caye Wall: Located on the southeast corner of Lighthouse Reef Atoll, crescent-shaped Half Moon Caye has a stunning beach dotted with palm trees and endless views of the Caribbean (click here).

Hopkins: Located on the eastern coast of Belize, this long stretch of beach is perfect for morning walks and jogs (click here).

South Water Caye: Easily reached from the coasts of Dangriga or Hopkins, this mile-long island is one of the few spots in Belize where you can actually swim from beach to reef. The best stretch belongs to Pelican Beach Resort (click here).

Placencia Village, Maya Beach, and Seine Bight: The 16-mile-long Placencia Peninsula in southern Belize has been dubbed “barefoot perfect,” with thick, golden sand and clear water (click here).

Laughingbird Caye National Park and Silk Caye Marine Reserve: These protected marine reserves are ideal for sunning and swimming in glorious Caribbean turquoise waters. Both are also popular snorkeling and dive spots (click here and click here).


Laughingbird Caye National Park

Ranguana Caye: Gorgeous turquoise waters and fine white sands surround this private two-acre island just 18 miles from Placencia (click here).

Sapodilla Cayes: The remote Sapodilla Cayes’ Lime Caye and Hunting Caye have beautiful turtle-nesting beaches (Oct.-Apr.). You’ll likely be the only one burying your toes beneath the fine white sand (click here).

Underwater Bliss

Diving is still Belize’s initial claim to tourism fame. Many visitors are avid divers and snorkeling enthusiasts, all eager to explore the wonders of the second-largest coral reef in the world.

Belize Barrier Reef: Stretching approximately 155 miles north to south, the barrier reef is its own underwater ecosystem, home to three atolls and nine protected marine reserves.

Lighthouse Reef: Lighthouse Reef Atoll is among Belize’s favorite diving destinations, home to the great Blue Hole (click here), Half Moon Caye Wall (click here), and Long Caye Aquarium (click here).

Turneffe Atoll: This popular snorkel and dive destination is a declared protected marine reserve with two don’t-miss dive sites: The Elbow (click here) and Gales Point (click here).

Hol Chan Marine Reserve: Belize’s most-visited marine site is worth a visit when staying on the Northern Cayes. Highlights include Shark Ray Alley and the Coral Gardens (click here).


snorkeling at a local marine reserve

Glovers Reef Atoll: Belize’s southernmost atoll spans nearly 80 square miles and is home to fantastic marinelife (click here).

South Water Caye Marine Reserve: Whether off Tobacco Caye (click here) or South Water Caye (click here), there is plenty of marinelife to explore.

Gladden Spit Marine Reserve: Come for that elusive, once-a-year (Mar.-June) whale shark experience (click here).

Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve: Sapodillas Cayes is as remote and exclusive as it gets. Top spots include Lime Caye Wall and Ragged Caye and The Shipwreck, a massive sunken ship surrounded with abundant marinelife (click here).

Days 4-5

Rise early and visit the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich, either on foot, mountain bike, or horseback. Or opt instead for a canoe trip up the Macal River. Depending on the water level, you might make it to duPlooy’s Jungle Lodge, where you can tour the Belize Botanic Gardens. If you’re more adventurous, spend the day on an exhilarating cave trip to Actun Tunichil Muknal in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve.

The next day, enjoy a ride along the Mountain Pine Ridge to the Mayan ruins of Caracol. Along the way, take a dip at Río On Pools or get more off-the-beaten-path with a short hike to Big Rock Falls, where you can cool off in a jade pool. Stop at Calico Jack’s for a unique zip-line experience or for a photo op at Thousand Foot Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in Central America.

Day 6

Inland or island? A couple of puddle-jumper flights—or a drive down the Hummingbird Highway—will get you to Dangriga. Take an afternoon trip to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can hike through the rainforest past fresh jaguar tracks and chill in waterfalls under a green canopy. End the night with dinner back in Dangriga at Pelican Beach Resort and head to town for cold beers and dominoes under a thatch cabana at Wadani Shed. Island lovers could instead hop on a boat and transfer to nearby Tobacco Caye or South Water Caye for diving and snorkeling along the pristine southern Barrier Reef and some blissful beach time. These islands are oh-so-stunning and romantic.

Day 7

Take a Tropic Air puddle-jumper flight back to Belize City, and start planning your return.

Extend Your Stay

From Dangriga, catch the first bus down to Hopkins and soak in some Garifuna culture, beachcombing, and fine dining. Sign up for a Garífuna drumming lesson at Lebeha Drumming Center. Bury your toes in the sand while enjoying a traditional Garífuna meal at Laruni Hati, or wine and dine at Chef Rob’s. Spend the next day fishing, lazing in a hammock, or bicycling up and down the village onto nearby Sittee River.